Columbus Ohio is getting a boost to their public transportation sector with the latest in U.S. funded autonomous technology testing. This week Columbus will become the first United States city to have a completely autonomous public transportation shuttle. These smart buses will travel on three mile rout that starts at the linden transit center, goes through the cities largest public housing development, and eventually stops at St. Stephens community house which services around 22,000 residents annually.
Stemming from the Smart Cities Challenge, a program implemented by the Obama administration aiming to encourage cities to step up and develop more advanced transportation modes, Columbus was able to beat out six other finalist cities to become the winner of a 40 million dollar federal grant, “Smart Columbus” was born.
Columbus is a fast growing city and with the rapid growth to its population transportation systems will begin to stress under the increased workload. The implementation of the new transit system will work towards connecting neighborhoods and making sure none are left behind. For example the south linden neighborhood has an above average infant mortality rate, the city hopes that this new transit technology will improve access for pregnant women to the St. Stephens clinic and its food pantry. Smart Columbus plans to have over 300 pregnant enrolled at the start of the program.